Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me...Psalm 23
November, 2004. Another school year drawing to it's close. Already the days were getting hot & sticky & Star & I...well, we'd had enough. We were still with BSDE; they are pedantic about returned work & we still had a fortnight's worth of work to go. Grade 4 was our last good year with BSDE, before we got the woman who turned Star's schooling into a nightmare from which she has never really recovered.
I looked at Star's work. It was a great unit; something about birds & flight, the sort of thing that we would normally have taken our time over & enjoyed no end but a niggling little voice at the back of my mind kept saying, Get it done. Get it in the mail. As fast as possible. And so I said to Star," Look, just get it done & you're on holidays." She was smart enough to twig she got nearly a month extra holidays & we ploughed through her work doing the bare minimum. I can't say either of us enjoyed it much but every time I was tempted to slow down this little voice would pop up saying, Get it done. Get it done. And so we got it done. In record time.
Work returns always make me a little crazy. All that organization, dontcha know. *sigh* All those lists: readers; library books; manipulatives; math workbook; English workbook; art pieces; science experiments & there are just so many places in this house stray pieces of paper can migrate! There is no feeling like putting the last school package of the year in the mail & knowing you don't have to worry about it for a whole 2 months! I think we went & got ice cream to celebrate. The weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. I breathed deeply of freedom ~ & then my world came crashing down.
You know the phone call; someone you love telling you someone you love is in the hospital & my mother, who was the bearer of bad news, insisting there was no need to travel to bedsides when you know there is every need. Not the first time my dad had suffered a heart attack & I had never felt the imperative need to go rushing off to bedside vigils. This time was different. Things did not sound good. And I was so grateful amidst the worry & the juggling, the conferring with Dearest & breaking the news to our kids & talking about death & who wanted to travel down to say their goodbyes, that I was not worrying about undone school work.
There is nothing worse when you are a kid & important & momentous events start taking place around you than being rendered powerless & without a voice & so Dearest & I spoke to our kids both individually & collectively about what had happened to their Pa, about the physical condition he was in & what they could expect if they chose to visit him in hospital. Having explained the facts we told them that the decision to visit or not was theirs alone to make & however they chose would be respected ~ yep, even Star. In many ways Star was the one who coped best but all the kids were grateful for the opportunity to travel down & see their Pa for one last time. It wasn't easy. It wasn't pleasant. It wasn't fun but not one of them has ever regretted their decision.
I brought the kids home & then returned to wait while dad made his last & final journey thought the portals of death & I can remember saying to my sister~in~law that our belief wasn't worth anything unless it was worth something in moments like this because God does not change. If I believe God is good when good things happen then He is still good when bad things happen.
In my rather erratic walk with the Lord I was, amongst other things, confirmed in the faith in my mother's church & my confirmation verse is from Isaiah, a prophet & man of God who must also have been something of a poet for it is he who said; They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles...& so it was for me as we left the hospital staff to deal with the body that had once housed my father. My grief was centred in Christ & so I was borne up & sustained. I was sustained as I drove home alone up the highway ~ & believe me there were plenty of people worried about me making that trip! And the boat trip makes you crazy because you're home, but not quite through your own front door, & even then there were people everywhere & all I wanted to do was get alone with the Lord. I didn't want to say anything. I didn't want to do anything, just rest in that still centre that remains unperturbed by all the froth & bubble that is life & randomly opening my bible my eyes lighted on Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless, defender of widows is the Lord in his holy habitation... & He sustained me a week later as I read the eulogy & helped my mother start packing up her life.
One of the joys of getting older ~ & frankly there aren't too many of those! ~ is being able to look back over your life & see clearly the hand of God upon it. There was no reason for me to feel the urgent need to get Star's school work finished & in the mail ~ except for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We had the money for me to travel; I had the time. The Lord knew how much I needed to be reassured & loved after a horrendous week & gave me a verse I return to again & again, like a touchstone, to remind me I am loved & that His love never fails.
As life moves inevitably on, it is easy to get lost in the busyness, the imperative, the urgent & forget that God's hand is still sustaining, guiding, directing all & that nothing happens without His consent. Not that it will always be easy, but that we will always be upheld by His hand, sustained by His love..